August 10, 2017 | 18 Av 5777
We are more wired together – yet more disconnected from each other – than ever. It is hard to understand.
- A recent Atlantic article explored the sharp generational changes that are already surfacing. The first kids who are growing up with the power of a smartphone in the palm of their hand are physically safer, but may also be on the edge of a mental-health crisis.
- Israel strives to be a light unto the nations while the government is creating – or working to create – policies that seemingly push back on basic civil rights. David Lehrer, ED of the Arava Institute wrote a powerful piece about his concerns. The freedoms of speech, of protest, and of religion, which are covered by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, are not guaranteed in the Israel Constitution.
- And then there is healthcare, challenges to affirmative action, and all the other real issues that don’t surface because tweets are center stage. I find the humor of John Oliver to be my balm of Gilead these days. But my fleeting laughter just covers the pain of a confusing world.
With this backdrop, Hazon strives to connect to Jewish tradition – particularly to the roots of our centuries-old agrarian systems – to help us make sense of our world today. And at the same time, to allow the world today to help us better understand our collective heritage.
So step away from your devices at the Jewish Outdoor, Food, Farming & Environmental Education (JOFEE) Network Gathering, September 14 – 17, 2017. There we will focus on Jewish nature connections, showcasing initiatives that engage us holistically in the context of ecology, the outdoors, and the environment. Become part of the Jewish response to climate change, or further develop your skills as a Jewish farmer, gardener, or educator.
Join us in framing Israel in powerful new ways as we partner with the Arava Institute to run the Israel Ride. The Israel Ride was founded to build upon our passion for connecting people to Israel’s land and culture, supporting critical environmental programs, and advocating for a sustainable, secure, and peaceful Middle East. (And if you can’t get all the way to Israel to ride, you can still join us this Labor Day weekend on the NY Ride & Retreat.)
I am writing from the Hazon Food Conference at Isabella Freedman. We are in the midst of 4 days of learning, discussion, respectfully agreeing and disagreeing, and, of course, eating. It is both an escape and an inspiration for what is possible.
Whether it is through humor, bike rides, or taking time to be on retreat, I hope to be part of building the world that I want to live within. What are you trying to build? What are you doing to take care of yourself these days? As I’m nearly half way through my tenure as acting CEO, I would love to hear from you.
All the best,
Chief Program Officer